Steve Caprio is an artist and activist, who owns Caprio Designs, co-owns Earwax Creative & Outloud Print, with 20+ years of branding experience. He received his start in the cannabis industry in 1997 as a product designer for 420 Eyewear. He's worked with brands such as NORML, Neff Headwear, Skullcandy, HIGH TIMES, California Minority Alliance, Seattle Hemp Fest, Big Bear Resorts, Wu Tang, Chronic Candy, High Life Festival, Phatt Ass Glass, Gem Stonz and more. He organized the first cannabis permitted music festival in San Bernardino County in 2009, featuring Jack Herer and others. He's developed some of the industry's most recognizable logos, products, product packages, trade show environments, promotional materials, marketing campaigns and apps.
As California Policy Coordinator for the Drug Policy Alliance, Cat Packer works to ensure the successful, equitable implementation of California’s recently passed Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Within her role, Packer advocates for industry diversity and reinvestment in communities most harmed by marijuana prohibition. Prior to joining DPA, Packer served as the campaign coordinator for Californians for Responsible Marijuana Reform, Drug Policy Action’s social justice driven campaign in support of AUMA. Packer also has participated in marijuana reform efforts in Ohio. There, she served as the deputy director of Central Ohio NORML and participated in the 2015 legalization effort. Packer is an alumna of Ohio State University, where she received a Bachelor’s in political science, a Master’s in public policy & management and a Juris Doctor. Packer envisions marijuana reform as an opportunity to raise awareness of mass incarceration and advocates an end to the failed War on Drugs.
The CEO of Big Pete's Treats, Feurtado leads an award-winning edible cannabis company that specializes in fresh baked cookies. After graduating from Mid America Christian University in Oklahoma, Pete and his father, “Big Pete,” set out to create a cannabis product that was consistent, effective and delicious. After starting their business in 2008, Big Pete’s Treats has received multiple awards from the Hempcon Cup, Santa Cruz Cup and the International Cannabis & Hemp Expo, and was also recognized as one of HIGH TIMES’ top 20 cannabis brands to watch. Focused on local community efforts with the Santa Cruz Veterans Alliance, Big Pete’s Treats has organized beach cleanups, along with other compassion programs.
The creative genius behind Stock Pot Images and Asian Americans for Cannabis Education, Ophelia is guided by one mission: to advocate for the legalization of cannabis and offer truthful reflections of the faces and communities that embrace cannabis. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in 1989, Chong traveled the world for a few years and found her calling in photography. She began her career as the photographer for David Carson at Raygun Magazine, Sony Music, Mercury, Epitaph and Interview Magazine. She went on to become the creative director at Strand Releasing, distributing over 50 films to the Sundance, Toronto, New York, Venice, Berlin and Outfest film festivals. She moved into the stock and assignment photography business next. Since 1999, she has specialized in marketing and designing for photographers, photography monographs and photography agencies. Ophelia has taught marketing and self-promotion to photography students at the Art Center College of Design since 2010 and has been an art director in the MFA writing program at CalArts since 2008.
As CEO of Purple Haze Properties, Andrew Pitsicalis has secured the intellectual property of the Jimi Hendrix estate for licensed products. With 20 years of cannabis experience in areas as diverse as cultivation to production, sales, education, media and consulting, Pitsicalis was awarded a HIGH TIMES Trail Blazer award for top 50 pioneers in cannabis, at last year’s business summit. A board member of the National Cannabis Chamber of Commerce and a member of Cannabis Science, a leader in cannabis scientific research, Andrew and his business partner Leon Hendrix made the cover of the LA Business Journal. Pitsicalis has also been seen on CNN and has spoken about celebrity cannabis licensing and branding at over a dozen events in 2016.
At Buds & Roses, Aaron’s goal is, quite simply, to create the ultimate cannabis shopping experience for new and experienced cannabis users. This means consistently cultivating, sourcing and retailing only the safest and highest quality cannabis products available on the market. Further, Buds & Roses takes great care to employ highly-trained, certified and knowledgeable staff to individually understand and meet the needs of its valued customers. Since 2010, Aaron and the Buds & Roses team have been recognized for their efforts with consistent customer and revenue growth, as well as being the proud recipients of 26 HIGH TIMES Medical Cannabis Cup awards.
Aaron takes immense pride in the personal relationships that he has forged over the years with his team, customers, suppliers, members of his local community and those advancing the safe and responsible use of cannabis nationally and internationally. As an impassioned trailblazer in the industry, Aaron has made a personal commitment to be an instrumental and educational voice at the local, state, federal and global levels for cannabis users, advocates and industry players everywhere. As part of this commitment, Aaron holds leadership roles as an active board member of the National Cannabis Industry Association, the California Cannabis Industry Association and the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance.
Leslie Bocskor—with his advisory firm Electrum Partners and fund, The Electrum Fund—is leading the evolving discussion around policy, entrepreneurship and investment in the cannabis industry, nationally and internationally. As founding chairman of the Nevada Cannabis Industry Association and with his far-reaching Wall Street background, he’s helping design the models for cannabis industry investment, business and regulation, as Nevada did with gaming. Whether it's Big Pharma’s long tail or first-mover investors taking advantage of early opportunity, Bocskor's insights and influence have made him the trusted expert and revered pundit on getting in and getting out of cannabis investments successfully
The founder and CEO of ArborSide Compassion, located in Ann Arbor, Rhory has been a cannabis activist for over 35 years and in 2011 started a dispensary of his own. Since then, ArborSide has grown into one of the top provisioning centers in the state, servicing over 1,200 patients per week and has won over 22 HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup awards, including half a dozen different original edibles created by in-house chefs at ArborSide. Creator of an annual grow seminar starting off the weekend of Ann Arbor’s Hash Bash, Rhory has hosted speakers such as Kyle Kushman, Ed Rosenthal, Kenneth “K” Morrow, DJ Short and Mike Boutin.
Since 2008, Ariel has guided her cannabis clients through the ever-changing and complex labyrinth of rules, laws and regulations governing medical and adult-use cannabis. These clients include licensed dispensaries, growers and manufacturers in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois and Michigan. Ariel founded and became the chair of the Los Angeles Cannabis Task Force. Dedicated to finding a workable alternative to Prop D, the task force’s mission included establishing fair regulations for each of the cannabis industry’s various components, protecting and promoting diversity of the cannabis industry and creating an economic climate in which everyone, from the government to the citizenry, benefits. Ariel earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is an active member of the National Cannabis Bar Association, California State Bar and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. She serves on the board of California NORML, the policy committee of the California Grower’s Association and is a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association and the California Cannabis Industry Association.
A pioneering cannabis lawyer with more than 18 years of experience providing legal counsel and representation to members of California’s cannabis industry, Figeroa is an expert in California cannabis law and is frequently quoted in the media. Omar has taught several Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars to lawyers on cannabis-related topics, including legal ethics, MCRSA (Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act) and Proposition 64 (Adult Use of Marijuana Act). Omar graduated from Yale College, Stanford Law School and Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College, and learned the craft from legendary San Francisco trial lawyer Tony Serra. Omar has also represented, on a pro bono basis, medical cannabis patients, computer hackers and activists facing incarceration for peaceful direct action. He is the the author of Cannabis Codes of California, an upcoming book containing all of California's cannabis laws in one indispensable reference volume.
Dr. Aseem Sappal is the provost and dean of the faculty for Oaksterdam University, as well as corporate CFOO and chief academic officer. His responsibilities include directing operations, developing faculty, financial management, international affairs, R&D, strategic growth and partnerships. He is a professor of business, science, civics and dispensary operations, representing Oaksterdam University internationally as a subject matter expert to local and state government agencies, health care professionals, business leaders, politicians and the media while promoting education and improving public awareness. Dr. Sappal holds a medical degree from India, serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Health Research Institute, which works with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, is on the board of the Public Education Program Fund and is an advisor for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR) and ReformCA.
Jeff Jones has provided expertise in the medical cannabis field to Californians for over 20 years. Jeff co-founded the Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Cooperative (OCBC) in 1995, simultaneously creating the downtown cannabis-friendly area known as “Oaksterdam.” With Jones’ assistance, the City of Oakland became the first U.S. city to contract with a medical cannabis provider back in 1998 and implement a successful city program to issue compassionate provider permits in June of 2004. Jeff proved self-regulatory practices that would eventually become the tenets of Senate Bill 420 and the Attorney General Guidelines of 2008.
Jones was named defendant in the OCBC Federal Civil case, one of the longest-running medical cannabis cases in history as it traveled all the way through the Supreme Court; the first to ask the question for medical necessity patients. His active involvement with the Patient ID Center (formerly OCBC) has shared his expertise with hundreds of thousands of medical cannabis patients, professionals and experts. He has been educating professionally as the horticulture expert, politics and history instructor for Oaksterdam University since 2007. In 2010, Jeff Jones was co-proponent of the Prop 19 Tax and Regulate Cannabis Act, hoping to take the target off the backs of medical patients. Jeff now serves on the Board of the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR) and has two young sons with Dale Sky Jones.
At Flourish Cannabis, founder Payton Curry produces an extraordinary line of sweet and savory medicated edibles, bringing a farm-to-patient approach to edible cannabis. Chef Curry started Flourish after years as an executive chef and restaurateur, and approaches edibles with sophistication born of a lifetime in the kitchen. Focusing on locally produced ingredients and a keen eye for accurate medicinal dosing, Flourish Cannabis aims to socialize.
Having graduated with a degree in business finance from the University of Nevada, Michael was recruited by top social media marketing firm, Wildfire Interactive, which was acquired by Google in 2012. Michael spent two years at Google refining his marketing and sales acumen before being introduced to the emerging cannabis market. After educating himself about cannabis with the help of Oaksterdam University, Michael decided to leave the tech world (and free food at Google) to focus full time on creating quality cannabis products that are welcoming and inviting to the next generation of cannabis users. Through his day-to-day work managing Lola Lola, his mission is to deliver experiences that inspire expansion of the mind, community and overall well being of humankind.
Elise McDonough is author of The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook and Marijuana for Everybody! A longtime HIGH TIMES staff member, Elise has sampled world-class cannabis cuisine, ranging from the space cakes of Amsterdam’s coffeehouses to secret underground medicated dinners prepared by California's ganja gourmet chefs.
Kristin Nevedal is the director of the Patient Focused Certification Program, serves as Chief Compliance Officer for Humboldt’s Finest Farms and co-chairs CCIA’s AG Committee. Before joining ASA, she co-founded and served on the board of the Emerald Growers Association, whose mission was to promote the medicinal, environmental, social and economic benefits of lawfully cultivated sun-grown medical cannabis from California’s Emerald Triangle region by advocating for public policies that foster a healthy, sustainable medical cannabis industry. As chair of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee’s Cultivation Working Group, Kristin assisted in the development of cannabis cultivation model regulations and best practices for agency consideration. Kristin is also an instructor at Oaksterdam University, teaching classes on environmental sustainability and best management practices. Kristin’s broad policy and advocacy experience also includes serving as a board member for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform (CCPR), Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana (CRMM), Americans for Safe Access’ Patient Focused Certification Program and the 420 Archives.
Ricardo Baca is the founder and contributing editor of The Cannabist, legal marijuana's paper of record and a division of The Denver Post. Fortune magazine ranked Baca as one of the seven most powerful people in American cannabis, while the Brookings Institution said he's one of 12 key people to watch in marijuana policy. Considered by Vice as "the nation's most prestigious weed editor," Baca is also the subject of the feature-length documentary Rolling Papers. Baca also founded music blog Reverb and co-founded music festival The UMS.
Kyle Kushman is an internationally renowned marijuana cultivator whose collaborations have earned 13 Medical Cannabis Cups awards, including three U.S. Cannabis Cups for Best Flowers. All awards were earned by utilizing Kushman’s Vegamatrix, winner of the coveted STASH Award from HIGH TIMES Magazine in 2014, has been hailed as the best new nutrient on the market. Kyle is a 30-year veteran of organic cannabis cultivation and formerly a staff journalist and cultivation expert for HIGH TIMES magazine. In 2004, Kyle returned to cultivating and experimenting with organic growing in California, starting Karma Consulting in 2006 to advise growers on Proposition 215 medicinal cannabis gardens. In 2009, he began teaching advanced horticulture classes at Oaksterdam University, followed by Earth-Friendly Cannaculture classes on organics and Veganics. Numerous articles about Kyle and his innovative techniques have been published in national publications, including the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Rolling Stone, Forbes and the New York Times.
Amber Senter has 17 years of marketing and project management experience. Currently the chief operations officer (COO) at Magnolia Wellness in Oakland. Amber's primary responsibilities include creating and implementing procedures to improve sales and increase profitability. Under Senter’s supervision, the dispensary has grown by nearly one thousand members a month. Senter is COO at Eureka Management Services (EMS), providing contract services to cannabis businesses. Her voice is trusted in the growing cannabis industry, as is her unsurpassed knowledge of the end medical and recreational user base. Senter has co-founded several companies, including Supernova Women. Formed in 2015, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to empowering women of color to become self-sufficient cannabis industry shareholders. She also founded Leisure Life, a lifestyle and infused edibles company, and heads product development and marketing for the brand. Senter is a sought after coach and mentor, and a role model for new marijuana business entrepreneurs.
Rachel Gillette focuses her practice on marijuana/cannabis business licensing and regulatory compliance, business law and transactions, contract drafting and review, civil litigation, corporate formation and tax matters, including audit representation. She has vast experience in representation of cannabis and hemp businesses, having represented state and locally licensed marijuana and hemp businesses in Colorado since 2010.